Many of us hold our spiritual and religious values very deeply in our hearts. Yet, we often have difficulty expressing them to those that may follow a different religious or spiritual path than our own. As a country, we are a melting pot of cultures, religions and beliefs. However, we continue to focus so much on our differences that we lose sight of where our values are the same. Every major religion in the world has the same set of core beliefs. Instead of those, we focus on the names, dates and territorial issues we may never agree on. The following are 7 areas of spiritual focus in your religion that supersedes religious intolerance, if you allow them to.

God, Allah, Buddha, Krishna, Tao, Jehovah, Super Conscious; the names of this great spiritual energy varies greatly. However, they all point to the same incredible, loving, creative and guiding energy. It is that spiritual source that we agree created all of us. Just as we put a part of ourselves into anything that we create, there is a spiritual center within all of us that connects us to one another and our creator. We are all one.

We share the same values of honesty, integrity, unconditional love, support of our neighbor, and respect for one another. We also share the same goals in life; peace of mind, happiness and prosperity for ourselves and loved ones, and the desire to be loved by others the way that great spiritual energy loves us. When we experience thoughts rooted in difference or separation, remember that we are all created and a part of one spiritual being.

Prayer and meditation allow us to connect to that great spiritual energy. Both allow us to give thanks, ask for assistance and blessings, and to dwell in healing energy. One is no better than the other because they are truly both the same. While they are expressed differently, they bring you to the same state of connection. It’s not about what’s right. It’s about what’s right for you.

Whether you stand, sit, kneel, sing, chant, or beat a drum, connection to that great spiritual source is the goal. Just as you would like others to respect your method of connection, remember to respect the methods others choose. Their method is as important to them as yours is to you. All should be respected, especially in light of what they all accomplish.

Disagreement and acceptance are two very different things. It is possible to not agree with a particular belief, AND to accept it as valid for others if that’s what they choose. The various religions all teach a form of non-judgment. Yet, we all continue to engage in judging. It’s almost as if we believe that when we accept another religion or spiritual practice as legitimate that it somehow diminishes our own. Nothing can be further from the truth.

It takes a person truly rooted in spirituality and their chosen faith to confidently accept another faith as legitimate while disagreeing with it for their life’s purpose. If you find yourself unable to truthfully be accepting and respectful of those that differ with you, then you are not yet rooted enough in the practices and beliefs your own faith teaches. Go back to connection. An infinite being has infinite pathways leading to it. Understand that the only limits that exist are within our own perception. Find strength through the beliefs and practices of your faith, and then accept and respect the beliefs and practices of others.

It’s important to free yourself from past hurts, outdated beliefs, and unpleasant experiences in order to boldly move into your future. Instead, most of us hold on to those things. The net effect is that we project our past into our future and are surprised when we go through the same types of experiences and relationships over and over again. It’s time to let go.

First, forgive others. Everyone is just like you; they are doing the best they can with what they have. They can justify every action they take or do not take, just as you can. They have a perspective they trust that guides them, just as you do. When you see things from that perspective, it’s a little easier to let go of what occurred. Next, forgive yourself. You did the best you could with what you had. Today, you stand stronger from the lessons you learned from your experiences and relationships. Hold on to the lessons and let go of any shame or guilt you feel, as it only serves to hold you back. Lastly, trust in your spiritual source. It has guided you to past experiences for a reason that benefits and empowers you, and it will guide you to new levels of understanding, relationships and experiences in the future.

Every decision, experience and relationship you’ve ever had led you to this point right here today. That’s good news because it means that you have the power to change the direction of your life anytime you are ready to do so. Be thankful for that ability. Be thankful for who you became and everything that’s helped you to get here. Be thankful for the choices you have yet to make.

Also, be thankful for the differences that exist between people and faith-based systems. They’ve served to provide you different perspectives that helped you to understand your perspective even better. They’ve helped to expand and shape your world-view. You’ve become broader and deeper because of them. Be thankful for the differences. Appreciate and accept that they exist. Respect them, while forming your own beliefs. Then, connect through prayer or meditation and give thanks.

When we are truly connected to our spiritual source, we can sense and feel universal unconditional love. While it exists everywhere, in those moments of true connection, it can feel like it is all there for just us. Just as you love your children unconditionally, you too are loved unconditionally.

Secretly, we want everyone to love us the way that great spiritual energy loves us. Yet, we aren’t willing ourselves to love others in this way. We get so caught up on the differences that we lose our connection to that spiritual energy, and thus, one another. When all you can see are the differences, you aren’t being loving. When all you can see is how you are the same, you can’t stop loving. Every religion teaches love as a constant practice. Get back to your fundamentals. Don’t just love those that believe as you do. Love those that are completely different. Through spiritual energy, you are just a different perspective of the same thing. It’s time to get back to love.

Open Mindedness
The more you learn about something, the less you fear it. Rather than sticking to the learning materials of just your chosen faith, explore the materials of one that you disagree with. You may quickly find that the values system is very similar if not exactly the same. What may differ are the social norms around names, dates and real estate.

Keep an open mind. Don’t be afraid to learn more. It will help you to understand another’s perspective a little better to find the areas where you are the same. It is this mindset that also allows you to delve deeper into your own spiritual practices. You may find new levels of understanding and belief by being able to understand new concepts and philosophies from others.

In summary, the fighting and bickering that we do over our differences takes us further away from the religion we think we are protecting. Use these 7 areas of spiritual consistency as a bridge to other systems, people, and philosophies. You don’t have to agree. If you truly believe what you say you believe though, then you do have to accept, appreciate and love those with differences anyway. There is no room for religious intolerance.

Author's Bio: 

James LeGrand an Author & Life Strategist. He is the publisher of, a free weekly newsletter that presents solutions to life’s issues through the lens of self-help, wisdom, philosophy and spirituality. He is the author of an best seller in Religion and Spirituality titled "Evolve!", and an Expert Author with & James LeGrand is also a Life Strategist, Radio Personality, a Fortune 500 Vice President, and a Sifu in Shaolin Kungfu, which has been known for centuries as a pathway to spiritual enlightenment.